Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer
ISBN-13: 978-0152164560
Graphia, New York, 2001
227 p.

GENRE: Historical Fiction

TEASER: Mary goes from crown princess and beloved daughter to an outcast servant in danger of her life.

SUMMARY: Crown Princess, heir to the throne, Mary Tudor has been lavished with attention since she was born. Everything changes when a mysterious woman appears in court, Anne Boleyn. Suddenly everything is changing in court. her father has started to ignore mary and her mother. He even sends them to distant palaces away from court. There are rumors going around that King Henry wants to marry Anne and to do that he must do the unthinkable. He must disgrace his wife Catherine of Aragon and his only daughter Mary. Soon, Mary is declared a bastard and her mother is sent into exile. Mary is only summoned back to court once Anne is queen. She is then forced to be a servant to her half-sister Elizabeth in a house where she was once master.

CRITIQUE: The story was told in first person perspective through Mary. The chapters feel rather like journal entries even though they are not specified as such. Meyer’s research is well done and as thorough. I felt Mary’s character was well done. You can really see the subtle hints of her future legacy. The story of Mary Tudor is usually just about her brief but bloody reign. This story paints Mary in a very human light. She is young, confused about what’s happening to her family, yearns for the affections of her father.

I love her interactions with the other characters as well. I felt that both Anne Boleyn’s character and Mary’s interactions with each other was very believable. I liked that fact that they depicted Anne as an evil temptress because in Mary’s perspective, she was. The relationship between baby Elizabeth and Mary is also believable. She would initially resent the little princess but through caring for her would have to develop some affections for them.

If I were to give any complaints, it would be that I felt Mary could have been depicted a bit more strict in her religion. The whole point of her slaughtering hundreds of people was that she was excessively pious like her mother. I suppose this could have slowly intensified after the novel ends. Either way, it was a thoroughly addicting read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn Meyer is an author of more than fifty books for young adults and children. The majority of her work is historical fiction. Some of her other titles include: Beware, Princess Elizabeth, Doomed Queen Anne, Patience, Princess Catherine, and Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de’ Medici.

Meyer’s was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. She is an only child. She and her husband live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has three sons, two step-daughters, and three grandchildren.





CURRICULUM TIES: British History

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: How do you think you would have handled the situation if you were in Mary’s shoes?

Mary later goes on to order the execution of hundreds of people. Do you feel this book helps explain how she could have turned into the bitter Bloody Queen Mary?

WHY INCLUDED: I have always loved historical fiction. I chose this book because I don’t often see mary Tudor’s character as a protagonist very often.